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Diesel Exhaust Exposure

Investigating Southern Pacific Occupational Cancer Claims
Freight train on tracks with diesel exhaust

Railroad Cancer Lawyers

Reviewing cancer and lung disease diagnoses on behalf of former workers at Southern Pacific and other railroad companies

Due to the constant assault with diesel exhaust exposure and the handling of other toxic materials over long careers with railway companies, many American railroad workers have fallen ill and have died prematurely

Our toxic exposure lawyers have filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of injured workers in several industries, including the railroad industry. Many former workers at rail stations, rail yards, maintenance facilities, roundhouses and other instillations have been regularly exposed to diesel exhaust, welding fumes, benzene, creosote, silica and asbestos. 

The railroad companies that hired thousands of Americans were responsible for maintaining a safe work environment, and yet many reports suggest they failed to properly educate staff about the health hazards related to certain materials on work sites. Some rail companies, including Southern Pacific, have been sued for a failure to warn workers about the possibility of toxic exposure and particularly before the 1980s, failed to provide safety equipment.

As a result, many workers later developed certain cancers than have been definitively linked to diesel fumes, asbestos, solvents, fuels, silica, and creosote. Even a small amount of toxic exposure can do harm, and when you add up all the years of employment for some workers, it comes as no surprise that occupational cancer cases are relatively common. 

What Can a Railroad Cancer Lawsuit Recover?

Each work injury case is unique and our legal team will need to review your complete work history along with a medical record to determine what damages and losses you can attempt to recover in a railroad cancer claim. In the past, employees who fall ill due to toxic exposure at the workplace have filed suit to recover the following:

  • Hospital and health care expenses
  • Future medical bills, including medication, treatment and rehab costs
  • Long-term disability
  • Lost wages and lost future earnings
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Pain and suffering and emotional distress
  • Wrongful Death and loss of companionship

Because of the complexity of these cases, it’s critical to hire an attorney who has proven success in similar cases and has decades of experience handling work injury claims.

About Southern Pacific

The Southern Pacific (SP) was an American Class I railroad network that existed from 1865 to 1996 and operated in large parts of the West. The rail network system has a long history and operated under numerous names. The Southern Pacific Transportation Company was acquired in 1996 by the Union Pacific Corporation and merged with their Union Pacific Railroad.

By the 1980s, the company struggled to keep up and route mileage had dropped considerably. In 1988, the Southern Pacific Transportation Company (including its subsidiary, St. Louis Southwestern Railway) was taken over by Rio Grande Industries. By 1996, the financial problems had  worsened and led Southern Pacific to be taken over by the Union Pacific Corporation.


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What Diseases Are Caused By Diesel Exhaust Exposure?

Numerous terrible health conditions, lung diseases and cancers have been linked to the long-term exposure of diesel fumes, benzene, silica and creosote. Such toxins are very common in the industry, and workers have later developed one of more of the following:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Nasopharyngeal Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
  • Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)
  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Aplastic Anemia
  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
  • Emphysema
  • RADS (Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome)
  • Interstitial Lung Disease
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis 

Southern Pacific employees who have been diagnosed with one of the occupational diseases listed above may file for compensation under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) as well as for Workers’ compensation. To be certain that these claims do not prohibit you from filing a separate personal injury lawsuit, contact a railroad cancer attorney at (513) 381-2333.

Which Southern Pacific Workers Have Developed Cancer?

Frequent toxic exposures at a rail yard is more than just an irritating part of the job. Regular diesel, benzene, asbestos and creosote exposure can result in very serious medical conditions, including occupational lung cancer. The positions at the highest risk were those tasked with directly handling toxic materials or constantly inhaling toxic fumes, dust and fibers.

Mechanics who worked in small, poorly-ventilated work spaces were at risk of developing lung disease. Conductors, brakemen, signal operators, yardmen and engineers have also seen their fair share of toxic exposure, mostly in the form of diesel exhaust. Many former employees have described wiping the windows of locomotives to remove the thick film of diesel residue. They have also lamented the pervasive odor of diesel on their clothing and in their hair.

Others would have handled railroad ties and tracks that were treated with creosote, another substance now thought to cause cancer. Asbestos was also used as a component in much of the Southern Pacific rail equipment. Electricians, pipefitters and machinists may have been exposed to solvents and asbestos.

Cancer cases may be connected to other railroad locations as well. Contact a lawyer if you have questions about your work location.

Why Hire The Lyon Firm?

Joe Lyon has almost two decades of experience in filing toxic exposure lawsuits. He has built his practice on the notion that American workers deserve a safe work environment, and when employers fail to provide this, they can be held accountable for any injury or illness that results. 

The Lyon Firm has the resources and the dedication to take your claim and build it into the strongest case possible. We assume all the financial risk, and we aim to reach a fast and substantial settlement for you and your family. 

To learn more about railroad cancer litigation, the legal process or to begin processing your claim, contact us for a free consultation. 

photo of attorney Joe Lyon


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Southern Pacific Toxic Exposure FAQ

Can I File A Railroad Cancer Lawsuit?

There is no shame in asking for financial help from a company after you worked for years and have only been rewarded with an illness. You can likely file a claim and seek compensation if you have worked for a rail company and have later been diagnosed with cancer. 

Who Is Responsible For My Injury?

This is the question at hand, and one that makes or breaks a case. If we can determine that your personal exposure to toxic materials at your work site directly led to a cancer diagnosis, we can argue that your employer is liable for all damages related to your condition. 

Is It Hard To Win a Railroad Lung Disease Case?

The courts and juries have recently handed down huge verdicts that suggest the public is on the side of employees when it comes to work safety. It is likely that you can reach a settlement when you file a valid claim. 

How Can a Railroad Cancer Lawyer Help Me?

We will begin with a full investigation and aim to conclude our work with a rightful settlement that will help pay for all your medical costs and financial hardships. 

If you or a loved one need legal representation for a railroad injury claim, contact the Lyon Firm at (513) 381-2333.

Justice For American Railroad Workers

File an Occupational Cancer Lawsuit

When former workers of one of America’s most important industries fall ill, they often don’t know where to turn for assistance. Filing a lawsuit may be the last resort for many, but the process may not be as difficult as you may expect. That is because our legal takes the lead and guides you through the process. We assume all the tasks and the investigation to build your case.